Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Capesante 'a modo mio' - Scallops my way

The other day I was walking by the fresh fish counter at my local supermarket and saw these beautiful scallops just sitting there on the ice and I could almost hear them calling out my name. I just could not resist.

When I got home I took the big guys out of their shells, while playing with some ideas of how to make them. They were so fresh and beautiful I decided to just quickly sear them in a hot pan and couldn't help but think of the Sicilian salmoriglio my mother-in-law makes to accompany grilled tuna or swordfish. I believe the original recipe calls for fresh oregano. F's family usually use mint and it is delicious, but I realized I only had cilantro so I used that instead.

Once the cilantro and garlic had macerated for a while, I put a couple of spoonfuls in each shell.

I then seared the scallops over high heat in a pan with olive oil for about a minute on each side, just enough to turn them golden brown, and placed them back into their shells. It was a bite of heaven: the crunchy, caramelized exterior of the scallops contrasting perfectly with the soft, sweet fleshiness inside; the acidity of the lemon cutting through the sweetness and the aroma of the coriander and garlic bringing out the flavour of the seafood, rather than covering it.

And my daughter and I got to make glittery soap dishes out of the shells! How is that for a bonus?

Salmoriglio 'a modo mio'

1 large bunch of cilantro
1 large lemon
2 garlic cloves
olive oil

Chop a large bunch of coriander and place into a small bowl. Add the garlic (I usually keep the chunks pretty big so I can avoid eating them because I am not fond of raw garlic, but by all means mince it or even squeeze it!), a pinch of salt and black pepper and then squeeze in the juice of one large lemon. I would have used lime if I had had it handy to add a South American twist with the cilantro, but lemon is perfect and the traditional citrus to use. Cover everything with abundant olive oil and let sit to macerate for a while. Salmoriglio is delicious with mint too! Try it with grilled meat or fish and you will never turn back.

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